Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Why of Motivation


External motivation is probably the most interesting, complex and fun part of the GMC of fiction. Internal motivation, on the other hand, can be one of the most challenging issues for those of us who are not therapists or clinical psychologists by trade and do not have a copy of DSM-5 at hand.

Let's start with a fast review of all the pieces of GMC. Every writer should have a battered, highlighted and tabbed copy of Debra Dixon's Goal, Motivation & Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction, on their desk or a pristine copy in their Kindle. 

 This lovely chart will be filled out for your hero, heroine and if you have one, the villain as well. The beauty of this is that it works hand-in-hand with Michael Hauge's Six Stage Story Structure. External is the outer journey. Internal is the inner journey.


 Back to basics.

Goal = What (what they want)

Motivation = Why (why they want it)

Conflict = The Why Not (what stands in their way)


It doesn't get any simpler than this for a beginning writer. This GMC would go in the EXTERNAL column because if you can see it, hear it, taste it or touch it, (per Dixon) the GMC is external. 

Back to WHY.  The answer to why is always....BECAUSE. 

Why does your hero or heroine want a particular EXTERNAL goal?  Decide the answer to 'because' and then throw obstacles in their way. This gives you GMC.

WHY? The internal motivation is as complex as an Annie Lennox video. The why of internal motivation is our wound. Hauge describes wounds as something the character already suffered when the story begins. An unhealed source of continuing pain.

Decide your hero or heroine's wound and you have the motivation for their goal. Of course, the conflict is that you make them face their pain. Always! The pain of the wound must be so strong that the character will do anything to avoid that pain again.

Our job as a writer is to show that motivation so clearly that the reader is willing to suspend their disbelief to follow your character and root for them, feel their pain and keep turning the pages. Laying the groundwork for the motivation will help us justify the character's actions later in the story.

Example: Farmer Joe Smith lost his wife and newborn in childbirth. He never wants to go through that again. In fact, he avoids it all cost and becomes a hermit. Of course, he falls in love with a pregnant widow stuck on his ranch during a blizzard. Or for a contemporary novel ..oops the birth control didn't work. Suddenly the marriage is in trouble because someone is facing their biggest fears.

This is very simplistic.  As we gain experience as a writer the more complex our internal conflict can and will become. 

Which bring us to another facet of motivation!

Characters acting in character.

There is nothing more annoying than a character who does not act in character. I'm as guilty of this as the next writer. Getting into our character's heads and really becoming them will prevent this. 

When we read a book we become the hero and/or the heroine. A good writer has established such a fine foundation of GMC that we know these people. We know Harry Potter. We know Scarlett O'Hara.


So when these characters do things that we know in our heart they would never do, because they have become real to us, we have no choice but to stop reading.  The writer has broken the bond of trust. 

This is why a good Beta reader, critique partner or editor is so valuable.  

The moral of this lesson? Don't annoy your readers. 



The final aspect of motivation is Stupid Heroine Syndrome. Sometimes this is called Too Stupid To Live.  

This is very simple to diagnose. The character does something that defies logic and common sense. It's even worse when both the hero and heroine are TSTL. The underlying issue is there is no motivational rationale for their actions. And TSTL is not really a very heroic thing is it?

Examples:

1. The heroine hears a burglar in the basement and goes down with only a flashlight and doesn't call 9-1-1.

2. The damsel who agrees to a deathbed wish that is utterly ridiculous.

3. In the middle of machine gunfire with the bad guys, the heroine oogles the heroes biceps. 

4. The hero and heroine are running for their lives through the jungle, cut and bruised and haven't showered in a week and they stop for what we shall call a "romantic encounter."

 Stop it! Just stop it!

I hope this discussion of the WHY of Motivation was helpful. Leave a comment today. I'd love to hear about your hero or heroine's WHY. Or (no names) about a TSTL hero or heroine you came across in your reading.

I'm giving away an ecopy of a 2017 RITA finaling book in the Inspirational Category to one commenter. Here's the list. You get to pick. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition. 


Forty-eight hours of Speedbo left. May the Force be with You! 



And remember, there are a few days left to sign up for Self-Editing for Beginners. This is the only time this course will be held this year. This year it runs April 3-28. Details and sign up here.

This self-paced course covers:

    Theme & Premise
    Plot & Plotting Methods
    GMC
    Synopsis
    Evaluating Your Opening
    Scene & Sequel, MRU, Episodic Writing
    Characterization
    Pacing & Sentence Structure
    10 Editing Issues
    Final Read Through Tips
    Real Revision Letters


BONUS: All class participants are eligible to submit the first three chapters (not to exceed 60 pages) and a one-page synopsis of a romance novel for full critique at the end of class. 

131 comments :

  1. Okay, now I want ice cream!! Thanks, Tina, for another educational post. I still struggle with GMC (external and internal). Well, at least the getting it down on paper part. In my head everything always makes perfect sense. ;)

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    1. Rhonda, my problem is that I start writing it down, and then I realize what I'm writing as external is really more internal. (or the other way around)

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  2. WHY???? hahaha! Why is that? I even put it down on paper and struggle.

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  3. I have to agree with Rhonda - that ice cream picture is the BEST EVER explanation of GMC. And my son has just told me we're out of ice cream ...

    I've got a good TSTL example. Heroine sees someone in the back yard, and calls 911. The operator says to stay inside. So the heroine goes outside, and I narrowly avoid destroying my brand new Kindle.

    TSTL characters are the worst.

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    1. LOL, Iola! That would make me crazy, too!

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    2. Iola, that's so funny, and kind of typical of every scary movie, right? Ay yi yi!!!

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    3. Iola, truly laugh out loud funny.

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  4. LOLOLOLOL!! I needed a spew alert for that one, Iola!

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  5. Oh my gosh, that rejection meme is priceless, Tina! Just perfect. :)

    I read a TSTL hero and heroine a few years ago. They had the bad guys chasing them, trying to kill them, and they stopped for a, ahem, "romantic encounter." It was the most ridiculous timing ever and I still remember that story to this day because of it. I wanted to throw the book across the room. It

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    1. That kills me every single time. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Makes no sense and yuck.

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    2. I read one, can't remember when, they are literally hiding in the weeds with killers just beyond and they have their 'romantic moment'. Oh Good Grief!

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  6. Great post on super important basics.

    And such an important reminder on characterization. If you have your people acting out of character, the reader spots it instantly... Because while I might react one way, I'm not my hero/heroine! They've got to stay true to the profile I laid out for them.

    Thank heavens for editors. That's all I can say!

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  7. Great post, Tina! This is definitely going into the notebook.
    "The moral of this lesson? Don't annoy your readers." Spot on!

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  8. You had me laughing at the "romantic encounters" comment. Just stop it! hahahaha.

    Thanks for this well-explained post, Tina (and the ice cream visual). I always find the better fleshed out the GMC, the more the book stays with me afterward, because the more I cared. Tamera Alexander is REALLY good at GMC.




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    1. I find the more the GMC is fleshed out the easier it is to write the book. Tamera Alexander is good at a lot of things! Which explains her RITA wins.

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  9. Great refresher, Tina! I need to pull out my Deb Dixon copy and review. Never liked Wizard of Oz, though... :)

    I don't seem to have a whole lot of trouble with INTERNAL conflict that keeps the hero and heroine apart...it's the EXTERNAL that's most challenging for me. So finding a good book-length external that pushes them apart is the hardest in my own little writing world.

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    1. That's interesting,Glynna. The opposite of most. I seriously bleed when it comes to internal conflict. I want perfect people.

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    2. I'm with Glynna on this. What is the hero doing externally to prevent the hero from reaching her goal gives me headaches. Maybe the internal comes easier to me because of my dysfuntional family.

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  10. Great post! Thank you! Conflict? Why can't we all just get along? Yes, I have issues with conflict lol.

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    1. I just said that Sally. Me too! Being mean is hard.

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    2. Haha! So true! But then we'd have the most boring books ever. So conflict it is!

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    3. What is wrong with me??? I LOVE being mean to my characters!!!

      But I am (mostly) a nice person in real life.

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    4. LOLOLOL. This is the REAL YOU, lurking behind the laptop.

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    5. Myra, I need some of that for my characters...just not mean enough.

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    6. Just ask my grandchildren how mean I am when they get noisy or play with their food or jump on the beds.

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    7. haha! I get that. Or how about when they get noisy playing with their food jumping on their bed. And you can read that as the food jumping on their bed because that would be fun lol.

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  11. Stupid heroine syndrome! Hahahaha! We've all either read it or written it. I'll stop now. LOVE the GMC graphic. It's simple and visual.

    We're on the home stretch of Speedbo! Come on, writers, we can do it!

    ~ Renee

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    1. Hard to believe an entire month has blown by, right, Renee?

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  12. Tina, GMC is important! I sometimes think I have it nailed but then, as I'm writing, I realize the GMC is not working. Is that normal? LOL The problem probably comes from not knowing my characters when I plan. Then as I write, I get to know them personally and have to revise what they want, why they want it and the problem that causes. This process is counterproductive. Thankfully sometimes I get it right immediately.

    Like Glynna, I struggle most with external GMC/plot. Compared to the external, internal stuff is a breeze.

    I don't understand why authors make characters take actions that any rational person would never do, when the villain can easily climb those stairs or break into the house and come after them. Perhaps it's because they want their characters to drive the action. ?

    Janet

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    1. Honestly, no matter how much preplanning I do, nothing comes together until chapter 5. That's the way it is for me.

      REALLY? External. I find that interesting. I can drop a house on anyone and head down the yellow brick road. But discovering why the wicked witch is so mean is a tough one for me.

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    2. Tina, your comment makes me feel better. We all have our writing strengths and our weaknesses. I'm guessing few of us have this writing gig down pat.

      Just don't drop a house on me, or I'll give you an example of what made the wicked witch so mean. LOL Kidding!!

      Janet

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    3. LOLOL, Janet. See I don't like to peek too closely into the psyche of another. It's scary and means intimacy. I don't like that.

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  13. Never heard of Stupid Heroine Syndrome but I sure know what it is - that thing that makes me throw the book across the room. And don't get me started on conflict - I will go to great lengths to avoid it in real life only to find it is required in massive amounts when producing the written page. Does anyone else have a secret craving to, just once, read a nice little romance with NO conflict?

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    1. No, absolutely not. I read a book, which did have some conflict (but really not that much) that was just a "nice little romance" *shudder*. I spent the whole book inwardly screaming at the characters to actually do SOMETHING. One of the most boring books I have ever read. I definitely need conflict in my stories.

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    2. Interesting conversation, Cindy and Nicki! Thanks for bringing it up.

      Cindy, I'm that way in real life, too. So conflict is hard for me to write. But I feel the same way as Nicki when I read a book where everything is just coasting along hunky dory. I don't find a strong reason to keep reading.

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    3. Me too. Hide in cave. Avoid conflict. I actually read the last page of books with too much conflict because I need to know there will be a HEA.

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    4. Sorry, Cindy! I have read a few romances with basically ZERO conflict, and I wanted to throw THEM across the room!

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    5. Yes, Cindy! Sometimes I just want to laugh! Maybe just a little CONFUSION instead of Conflict. But at least in most Christian based books we can count on a HEA! :)

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    6. Great discussion. I love conflict though I struggle with the external kind. Still I love it when I get the external conflict right and they're in an emotional collision. If falling in love is too easy, it'll happen ASAP and the book is over.

      Having said that, I love humor and gentleness in the midst of the conflict, Jana. The ups (fun times) and downs (conflict) are a roller coaster I love to ride in a book.

      Janet

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  14. Great post today Tina and timely for me as I'm in the process right now of developing the characters for my new wip. Now I need to figure out why the heroine can't fall in love with my marvelous hero. He's the county sheriff. I'm toying with the idea that her husband was a hero in uniform that actually turned out to be an abuser. So she doesn't trust men in uniform or the stereotype men of valor. So will that be enough of a conflict to sustain a whole book. sigh

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    1. Wow, good timing indeed. As an experienced writer you can probably add several conflicts!

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    2. Oh right. The experienced writer thing. LOL Well I don't care how many books I've written, it always takes awhile for me to get mean enough to torture my poor characters.

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  15. De bra Dixon's GMC is probably the single book that has helped me the most as a writer. I was just thinking about it yesterday. GMC is key for every aspect of the story. Overall plot and arc? GMC. Write a synopsis or blurb? GMC. Even individual scenes are built with GMC.
    So, so important. Thanks for sharing, Tina! I'm off to work toward my speedbo goal.

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    1. Yes! My GMC book is never on the shelf. Always sitting next to me.

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  16. My characters goal has been the same for the first three books in my series (though it's going to shift a little in the fourth book) finish the quest so they are no longer stranded in Amar. They are doing all this because they want to get back home to far safer modern day America and their worried parents. The conflict for the first book is that they don't know what the quest is, in the second book they are kidnapped by pirates, and the third they have to go up against a powerful emperor.

    And as for TSTL heroines... I'll just say that I have read plenty more than my fair share, and leave it at that before I go into full blown rant mode.

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    1. Ah, you have a to-be-continued series. WHAT FUN!!!

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  17. As many years as I've been writing, I still appreciate a great GMC refresher like this one! Tina, you've got me rethinking my characters' motivation in the new book idea I've been brainstorming.

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    1. Aw, thanks, Myra! I review GMC and Hauge at least each book.

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  18. Myra, I was just going to say that! The pictures helped too, especially the stimied ice cream hunt and the very focused cat! If I win, I pick Robin Lee Hatcher's "Keeper of the Stars".

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  19. Love this post, Tina. I do have a copy of GMC, and need to read it again. I think that's why my hero sounds so boring.

    I'm with Janet and Glynna...internal, piece of cake. External, a locked door. This is why I take as many classes as I can handle. Someday...

    I love/hate reading where the hero tells the heroine to "stay in the car with your head down", and he turns around and finds her right behind him! How do they get away with it?

    Blessings,

    Marcia

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    1. LOLOL. Okay, that's a good one too. I am quickly scrambling to recall if I did that. hahahahaha

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    2. I did. Rosetti Curse. He tells her to say there and she follows and he gets really mad. oopsie!

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    3. Okay, Marcia, in my defense..mine is a comedy.

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    4. Tina, I just finished that book! It stuck in my brain...I enjoyed it, and loved your characters. Now, I suppose I'll have to go leave a review!

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    5. LOL. Finish Speedbo first, Marcia. LOL.

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    6. LOL, Tina. It was the pause that refreshed me! LOL.

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  20. Tina, this is a great post! Definitely a keeper. Thanks!

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  21. Love this one. It's going into the Seekerville Volumes :) And still laughing about TSTL.

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  22. This is a wonderful post! I needed this today, because I'm having trouble with my heroine. She's the privileged daughter of a duke with a wonderful family and easy life. What is her wound? What are her goals and motivations? What does she want!!!??? I confess I really don't know.
    This is for my Aladdin story, and Aladdin's GMC is very easy. He wants to prove himself worthy of Kirstyn, the duke's daughter, since he's been in love with her since he was a little kid in the orphanage, and he has always been treated, as a poor orphan of Arabic descent, as unworthy. But my heroine . . . I can't decide . . . is she in love with Aladdin? I think she is a little in love with him, but at the same time, she doesn't think she can marry him. (This is when she's 17 years old.) So he leaves to seek his fortune. But . . . what does she want? What is her motivation? She needs some kind of goal.
    One idea I had was that she wants to be like her mother, starting orphanages and hospitals and taking care of the less fortunate in her town. Maybe she's truly waiting for Aladdin to return and marry her??? But maybe he decides he's foolish to hope she would marry him, so even after he makes his fortune, he doesn't go back because he thinks Kirstyn--and more importantly, her father the duke--will reject him.
    Okay, I think I just figured this out. LOL!!!

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    1. Thanks, Tina!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      And I read your Woman's World story! Awesome! Writing short stories is HARD! I just had to write a romantic short story for Splickety/Spark magazine, 1,000 words, and that was not easy. So, great job!!! Sweet story. :-)

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    2. hahahaha you did your brainstorming here. Well done, Melly. Thanks on the WW story. I look forward to your story as well.

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  23. And the TSTL thing . . . I really hate it when a character makes a death-bed promise and that becomes the only source of conflict. Ugh! That is so dumb. After all, the person is DEAD! They will not know if you go back on your promise! LOL Okay, maybe I'm the only person who thinks like that.

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    1. f I ask my kids to promise me something on my death-bed, I'm going to listen real closely to see if I hear them mumbling about just trying to make the old lady happy...LOL.

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    2. Haha! Connie, I can't imagine asking my kids to promise me anything on my deathbed except maybe that they will always stay faithful to God. I mean, why would you make them promise to marry a duke? Or promise not to marry so-and-so? Or promise not to marry a poor man? Or whatever. TSTL.

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    3. I KNOW ! I HATE THAT ONE TOO!!!!

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    4. I've only known one person who promised a death-bed wish. A guy promised his mom he'd always go to a certain church. And to my knowledge, he's never broken it.

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    5. A real live guy? Really? How odd. I was talking historical books.

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  24. Tina, I love the TSTL syndrome!
    But lately, with all the hoopla of having strong heroines, I see a lot more of the TSTL because the heroine is too STUBBORN to live. Everyone around her, especially the hero, is trying to save her sorry hide, and she sticks her nose in the air, marches into the damp dark cave where 10 serial killers abide on a stormy night, armed w/her own personal arsenal because no one is going to tell her what to do.
    For just once, I want the hero to say "fine" and let her meet an early demise.

    That being said, I really need my heroine to stay alone in her parents house while bad guys are after her and I can't think of why the hero would let her do that. Hmm....
    I see a stubborn chin in her future...

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    1. EXACTLY!!! I can't stand those stubborn heroines who stick their noses in the air when the hero is just trying to help them!!! How stupid.
      As for your scenario . . . maybe the hero gets lured away from the house where he was trying to protect her?

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    2. Although I did kind of do this in one of my books, I won't say which one. OOpsie.

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    3. On the floor laughing, Connie Queen.

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  25. Thanks for the great post, Tina! I need to re-read my copy of GMC. Again. :)

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    1. Keep that baby close, Jan Drexler! How've you been girl???

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  26. TINA, thank you for the great post! May those who accepted the Speedbo challenge FINISH STRONG!

    Please enter me in the drawing.

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  27. Well done, Tina!

    Speedbo update - 3 submitted, 1 near ready, 1 drafted (5 committed to be submitted... two days to go).

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. Wow, Phyllis, I admire your perseverance! How do you do it? Any tips? I'm retired, sometimes cook three meals a day, have a cleaning lady, etc., etc., and still have a tough time getting my butt in the chair and producing.

      Marcia

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    2. I think the hungrier I am the more I produce. My humble opinion. :)

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  28. Great post! It is definitely frustrating when you read characters doing stupid things that don't even fit their personality, etc. Even worse when you find it in your own work. ;) I write myself into corners all the time because I thought something would flow wonderfully with the plot and then my MC spins on a dime and glares at me. "Seriously, I would never do that. Do you think I'm stupid or haven't thought this through? Give me a little credit!" Usually the turn in plot is even better though...plus more realistic. :)

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    1. Yes, Angela. That's what inspired this post. My heroine acted out of character. I hear you!

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    2. I typically find my characters know a lot more about how the story should flow than I do. I have learned I usually need to step back and let them tell it their way.

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    3. Exactly, Myra. Too much interference isn't helpful.

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    4. LOLOLOL, Myra. I am pantsering a RS right now. Haven't done that since before I sold. IT IS SO MUCH FUN. I AM HAVING THE TIME OF MY LIFE.

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  29. Wonderful blog post, Tina! I love Deb Dixon's GMC!!! The book opened my eyes to a lot of things early on when I knew nothing. I struggled at first to grasp GMC. Then I had the lightbulb moment!!!

    May I add that if a story isn't working take another look at the story's GMC. Often a small tweak will make the difference...and will make the story shine. That GMC is so very important.

    Hugs!

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    1. Yes. GMC was my first craft book and it remains my faithful companion.

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  30. What a bonus to offer, ladies. Way to go!
    This cracked me up and put my mother's voice in my head: The hero and heroine are running for their lives through the jungle, cut and bruised and haven't showered in a week and they stop for what we shall call a "romantic encounter."
    Whenever Mom and I watched a western together and they're in the desert...the hero comments on how good the heroine's hair smells...Mom groaned, no way. GAG. Yuck.
    It's been a fantastic month with all of you!
    Close to You sounds like a good title to win, if an author can be in the drawing.

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    1. Everyone who comments is in the drawing, LoRee! You are in.

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  31. Great post. I love the ones that get right down to technique, even if it's something I've more or less heard before... because I need reminders!! My heroine's motivation has to do with the good relationship she had with her honorable father, the fact that she sees his early death as her fault, and also that she believes she's failed him in the way her life turned out. (I don't like getting too specific because someday I want to have readers who don't know what's coming.) Hopefully that's detailed enough to give you the gist.

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    1. Nicely done, Lara. Yes. I agree. I had an excerpt in the post and deleted it. Can't give away too much of a good book not yet sold!!

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    2. I am so with you, Lara. It makes me think thru my own work and try to figure out if it's all there, in place, the conflict is the heart of it. The external and internal.

      And they really can't be skipped.

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  32. I love this, Tina. A hard and clear run through the basics.
    I can think of a character acting out of character. There was a Jack Reacher moment in one of his books where he refused to fly on a certain airline because the airline put scripture on it's ... something. Magazines or napkins or something like that. And Jack hated that and refused to fly on that airline.
    Now, two things.
    1. I just don't buy it. If there is any character on this planet that is a live and let live guy, it's Jack Reacher. He'd see that and say, "As long as they plane gets me where I'm going."
    2. I felt like Lee Child was slipping his own agenda in.

    So out of Jack's character and an author who decides to tweak about half of his readership.
    That annoyed me because it was so unnecessary.

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    1. You are absolutely right. I really got peeved at that. REALLY PEEVED.

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  33. I have a few times written a conflict so deep and wide and solid that I couldn't see my way through it. I couldn't figure out a way to solve it.

    I have decided when that happens ... I'm really on to something.
    I love it.
    Because of course, in the end, the solution to every conflict is...TRUE LOVE. It overcomes everything. It makes the characters risk what they absolutely refuse to risk.

    And that leads to Happily Ever After.

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    1. Yeah, but until you get there it's really scary, but you have to keep writing through. BLIND!! Sorta like that other word...FAITH.

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    2. It is scary. I have to forge onward!!!

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  34. Good reminder, Tina, about GMC. I need to be sure I am following that in my writing.

    I think I would like to be in the drawing for Keeper of the Stars.

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  35. I solved the mystery of where my email follow up comments are going. I found them in Spam. Not sure why it started doing that.

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    1. There you go, Sandy. Happily Ever After. You are in the drawing.

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    2. The spam folder is so weird, Sandy. I get notices of tweets all the time and once in a while a few are in the spam folder. Not strangers or unknown characters with weird tweets.
      How does the computer decide???

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  36. OK, true confessions time. I do not own Deb Dixon's goals motivation contact conflict nor have I ever read it so I apologize for that right out the gate. But I am a realist, so I think that helps me hopefully to get it right about GMC even though I'm really stupid about it. This post was very helpful, however, because it was very straightforward, which I like.

    And, oh my gosh!! The two stupid to live syndrome drives me crazy!! I read one book where in the middle of a really critical, serious, dangerous, scene, The heroine notices the heroes biceps. Seriously?? Thank you for pointing that out, because that is something that every author needs to be aware of so they avoid that definite pitfall.

    Great Post, Tina!!

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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    1. " But I am a realist, so I think that helps me hopefully to get it right about GMC even though I'm really stupid about it. This post was very helpful, however, because it was very straightforward, which I like."

      While that statement made no sense, it's okay, I have learned to understand that there are folks like you and Mary and Ruthy who exist. Mystical beings who do not use craft books, who write bestsellers by the seat of your pants and are amazing.

      I don't get it. But I am aware of this in my subconscious.

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    2. LOL ... very true about Mary, Ruthy, and I not using craft books, but nothing mystical about it from my end, I'm afraid. I'm just a gal who cannot read anything but fiction, and I'm not sure why. The Bible is the ONLY nonfiction book on earth (and Jesus Calling and its counterparts) that I read on a regular basis. I can't tell you HOW many nonfiction books I have started and not finished -- WONDERFUL nonfiction books like 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp (which I actually did manage to finish on a devotional basis, meaning one small section at a time and LOVED IT, but that's one of the rare ones!!).

      So, unfortunately, self-help writing books fall in that category, too. My eyes glaze over and my mind wanders. Sigh. But if somebody wrote one with a love scene here and there -- heck, I'd read it!! ;)

      And thank you for tossing me in with Ruthy and Mary, but not using craft books is our ONLY similarity, unfortunately! I'm the tortoise, and they are the hares, but thank you for assimilating me with them -- somehow I feel faster for it! ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  37. Tina!!! This post is just what I need for my April goals...revising one story to make it stronger and plotting a new one for a fresh start. Thank you!

    I laughed out loud at the motivation-goal-conflict meme...yes, that! Please pass the ice cream.....

    Love your WW story....a perfect romance for spring! Blessings!

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  38. Thanks so much, Sherida!!! You made me smile!

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  39. Tina, All of that about TSTL heroines! Exactly! Along with that I have a problem when there is a plot point that is an impossibility. For instance, there are laws about what can and cannot be spelled out in a will. When a heroine reads a handwritten will and is convinced it is a valid will without consulting an attorney and then marries the hero because she's convinced if she doesn't she will lose everything, then I tend to get rather animated. So yes, I absolutely agree about making sure your heroine is not TSTL. I will get off my soapbox now! Thank you for the post. I was nodding my head at Panera the whole time I read it this morning.

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    1. LOL. Here's to writing heroines that are smart and savvy!

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  40. Almost missed this one (been sick today). Glad I made it by. Going to print this one out and keep it next to my computer. Thank you, Tina!

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    1. Aw, not the plague??? Not you too. Feel better!

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  41. This is a great post. I once heard of a woman who asked her cousin when she read a book to mark all the "romantic encounters". That's all she read. I guess that's why those jarring scenes are there.So more books are sold to people who only read those scenes. So sad/

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    1. LOL. That absolutely cracked me up. Well, to each his own. LOLOL.

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  42. This is great! I think TSTL could be my new favorite saying. When I pick up a book to read with TSTL characters I end up so annoyed! Thank you. Hoping that many great books have been written this month!
    Becky B.

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  43. Great information here. Thanks so much. I'll be reading it carefully later...last Speedbo day...gotta dash! Blessings to you.

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  44. Wow, this post, Tina!

    "The pain of the wound must be so strong that the character will do anything to avoid that pain again."

    I must memorize the above. I think most of my plotting problems come from avoiding deep character wounds, or at least not knowing which ones "work."

    I bought my first copy of GMC this week because of plotting frustrations, and look forward to studying it. I should probably dive in before I write another word. Haha.

    Awesome post!

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    1. Natalie! Good for you! It's a great book!

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  45. Wow, this post, Tina!

    "The pain of the wound must be so strong that the character will do anything to avoid that pain again."

    I must memorize the above. I think most of my plotting problems come from avoiding deep character wounds, or at least not knowing which ones "work."

    I bought my first copy of GMC this week because of plotting frustrations, and look forward to studying it. I should probably dive in before I write another word. Haha.

    Awesome post!

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  46. Tina, as I read this on Friday morning, I couldn't help but wonder why we can't help real people avoid some of those mistakes that defy logic and common sense. And yes, it's even worse when they are involved with someone else who is TSTL. Authors can delete their actions but we humans can only pray.
    Thank you and Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  47. SPEEDBO update - by God's grace, I did it! Submitted 5th story today. Normally I would have edited it more but the actual deadline is today for that topic (not just my Speedbo deadline). Hoping at least one of the 5 gets accepted.

    Thank you all for your encouragement and the great atmosphere here! May God bless you!

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  48. God bless you all. Loving SPEEDBO. WIP is finished. 86,000 words. Praise God. Exceeded word count, but will edit. Exhausted. Headache, chills, knot in stomach, tears of joy. Celebrating with a full-scale Ginger Ale and hubby bought chocolate bars. Love you all.

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  49. Excellent post, Tina - - thank you sooo much! Going into my Keeper File! :)
    Sorry I'm a day behind on visiting Seekerville but I've been extra-busy making my SPEEDBO goal!! :) Finally! WOOHOO!!
    Hugs, Patti Jo x o x o

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  50. You want to know one of my pet peeves when it comes to Stupid Heroine Syndrome? IDK if it qualifies for TSTL but it’s pretty annoying…it happens when I’m watching an old movie and I realize that the heroine is going to be the one to discover a dead body. I generally reach for the remote control at that point because most times the fictional heroine is going to let out a shrill, glass breaking scream like a nutball. *cue eyeroll*

    Does this annoy anyone else?

    #1 is another major pet peeve. Who does that?! That Girl doesn't count. ;)


    Please, enter me for the book giveaway if I’m not too late...we won't talk about how long my TBR list has gotten.

    And CONGRATS! Tina on the class. :D What a great idea. (Like this thought provoking post!)

    It's been a fun month gang. Happy crossing-the-finish-line. WooHoo!!

    Blessings,
    Meg

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